This Friday (20th November) will see business, health, education and city partners alongside representatives from all political parties come together to launch a cross-party campaign to back York’s case to remain a unitary council. The campaign will feature a cross-party petition, which will be submitted to the House of Commons to show that York’s residents and businesses are opposed to the proposals to merge York into a 'mega-council'.
The launch of the cross-party petition marks a new milestone in this campaign, seeking to show the Government the true extent of the opposition to any plans which weaken accountability, erode local democracy, and disrupt services at this already challenging time.
This follows near-unanimous support from City of York Council councillor’s for the Council's submission of its evidence to the Government for York to remain as an independent unitary authority (report can be found here).
In addition, over 4,000 residents have completed a survey from the local Liberal Democrats expressing their opposition to the plans.
The evidence in the report demonstrates the significant detrimental impacts of any local authority merger which includes York. Such impacts include the eroding local decision making in York, breaking the 800-year historical connection between the Lord Mayor, council and the city, and disrupting key services at a time when they are needed the most.
The campaign launch event will be live-streamed on the City of York’s Facebook page on Friday, 20th November at 3pm.
The event will see several well-known figures from the worlds of politics, health, education, business and local government set out their views on why York must remain York; including:
• Greg Dyke, former Chancellor of the University of York
• Sir Vince Cable, former Secretary of State for Business
• Rachael Maskell, Member of Parliament for York Central
• Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council
• Cllr Carl Les, Leader of North Yorkshire County Council
• Prof Stephen Eames CBE, Independent Chair and Lead for the Humber Coast and Vale Partnership
• John Tomsett, Headteacher, York Schools and Academies Board
• Andrew Digwood, president of York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce
Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of the City of York, commented:
“I am delighted to see the city’s leaders and representatives from all sectors and the political spectrum come together to support our case that York should keep decision making local. This campaign transcends political lines, it is about the future of our city and communities.
"I'd like to thank the more than 4,000 local residents that have voiced their support for York as an existing unitary council, and invite them to sign the cross-party petition to make it clear to the Government- decisions that affect York’s residents, businesses and communities should be made in York.
“It is vital that York continues to lead its own recovery, by putting residents and local businesses at the heart of our efforts to build back better. By avoiding unnecessary disruption caused by boundary changes, we can access the investment provided through devolution quicker than any other model, in order to benefit our communities and businesses and to help facilitate a strong recovery.”